The benefit of wildlife tourism - SOS Children’s Village weekend at Pilanesberg02/03/2007 17:57:32 With Sunway Safaris
The purpose of our sponsored weekend away with the SOS Children's Village kids was to expose the children to wildlife experiences, to educate them about Africa's natural environment, its wildlife and the interaction of society and the wild regions of our country, and to expose children to the growing tourism business in Africa. Through this exposure to tourism, we hope that some of the participants might see a career for themselves in tourism or conservation.
Not only do we help out these less fortunate young adults of the SOS Children's Village, but one of the important parts of a Sunway Safari is Responsible Tourism, and we operate these trips with the hope of educating the future generations about the value of conservation and eco tourism. An additional benefit is that our tour leaders are exposed to the reality of disadvantaged children and give them an avenue to assist.
Participation on safari
SOS Childrens Village
We arrange for children from Ennerdale SOS Village to participate in the weekend safari. The SOS Children's Village Ennerdale comprises sixteen family houses, an administration and service area and houses for the village director and the SOS aunts (who support the SOS mothers and take care of the children when the mothers are on leave). Up to 160 children find home in the sixteen family houses.
We arrived at the Village to find the eager-faced passengers waiting for us, and after we checked that everyone was ready we had a short briefing, loaded up the luggage and the people, and departed for Pilanesberg National Park.
The weekend was jam-packed with activities and some free time for the Kids to swim.
We had arranged 4 speakers to come and meet the kids throughout the weekend:
Each of the speakers introduced themselves and explained what their jobs involved, and told the Kids how they had achieved their qualifications to get them into their current positions, and where they would like to be in the future. They had all studied and have moved up in their jobs from when they started, so they could give personal accounts of the opportunities for different types of work at their companies.
They all explained the importance of Tourism and Eco-Tourism with regard to their own jobs, as well as to South Africa. Johannes was especially excited about the 2010 Fifa World Cup to be held in South Africa, and was even wearing a Bafana Bafana shirt.
The Kids had the opportunity to ask questions at the end of each talk, and the most questions were about the animals. Everyone was very appreciative of the talks and effort from the speakers, and the personal accounts gave us more insight into working in the different industries.
My weekend getaway with Sunway Safaris.
Thursday night when I looked out the window when darkness covered the night, I knew my special star would soon come to life and that I'll soon see a brand new day. A better start for all bringing joy and happiness and symbolising peace.
I never thought it would be that great and something I'd never forget. You came along when I was about to give up on life and you showed me the beauties of it and that has remained with me since I left the camp. I will forever be thankful for your time and support and for taking time away from your families and for raising money just for us.
I would like to thank you at Sunway Safaris for letting my star shine in knowledge and understanding once again. These are moments I'll never forget. Thank you to all the people that made it possible, I really enjoyed myself and the pool and the game drives rocked. It's so sad that it was so short, but we came out bigger and stronger than when when arrived.
Thank you once again.
Apart from the speakers the guides and Tamlyn also had talks with the Kids. Tamlyn spoke about Sunway Safaris and The Adventure Company, and why the Kids had been given the opportunity to go on the weekend away. She also spoke about the importance of tourism worldwide and locally, and how Sunway has a specific focus on responsible travel on each of its tours.
We feel that with each childs participation it has an invaluable influence on these young lives. Through the the weekend experience we can be sure that we have given these young disadvantaged South Africans an experience they may never have had; to see the natural beauty of their own country, and for some, we hope to have shown shown them the career opportunities in tourism and conservation.